Spectrum - Amsterdam

Say you're walking to dinner in Amsterdam; to the right, beautifully built, history rich homes and to the left, canals with riverboats buzzing by. Almost naturally you get that "only in Europe" feeling. Suddenly you realize that you've arrived at your final destination and head up the ornate staircase. By the large wooden doors stands a sharp looking young man in a well-fitted suit. As you approach him he asks, "Mr.Baviello?" What, yes, but, how, did you know? "It's my job Mr.Baviello. Welcome to Spectrum restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, please follow me". And that's when I knew it would be a memorable evening.

As Andres leads to the semi below ground dining room, looking out to the hotel's splendid courtyard garden, I think to myself that this is much larger than it looked from the outside. If you recall my previous post I mentioned that Amsterdam's 17th century homes were built to narrow specifications, and so you can imagine how it would be difficult to have any large space for offices or a hotel adequate to today's standards. History would have it that in 1950 a large national bank combined six of these canal mansions to create their headquarters. Many years of construction and renovations later the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam opened its doors in May 2014, offering 93 rooms and home to Spectrum since January 2019.

The restaurant is as contemporary a space as you'll find with flowy seating, and lots of cream & beige textures. A feature corner wall with a curved illuminated curtain subtly suggests that the meal you're enjoying is indeed a grandiose show. Meanwhile pops of indigo blue chairs and bright gold art keeps the dining room whimsical. A long shoulder height window allows the attentive team to look in on the show from their vantage point without overly touring the room.

Spectrum is the combined vision of manager Sascha Speckemeier and Chef Sidney Schutte. After a decade+ history of working together, they reunited at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam in 2014 to open the hotel's previous restaurant, leading their team to earn two Michelin Stars within seven months of opening. In late 2018 the restaurant rebranded & renovated to Spectrum as we know it today. Browsing photos of the dishes below it's clear that the kitchen is challenging themselves to create elegant food, combining texture and flavor that stays true to their Dutch heritage. It's no surprise that the innovative cuisine at Spectrum has earned and kept the restaurant a two Michelin star rating. I hope you enjoy the playful yet fine dining dishes below.

Grapefruit - Grapefruit Ceviche, Shiso, Avocado, Sea Salad in a bite

Conch - Conch, Cauliflower & Kaffir Custard, Caviar

Black Pudding - Pickled Black Pudding, Sea Buckthorn, Lemon Geranium, Peanut, Octopus 

Kolhrabi - Mustard & Fennel Seed, White Asparagus & Licorice

Mackerel - Fermented Strawberry Bouillon, Haddock Liver

Toro - Toro Tuna, Foie Gras & Yuzu, Pure Chocolate, Dutch Shrimps, Codium  

Sepia - Sepia Lacquered with Coffee, Winkles, Mango & Coriander, Airy Cardamom

Veal Liver - Caramelized Veal Liver, Mustard & Fennel Seed, White Asparagus & Liquorice

Sea Bass - Beetroot, Tonka Bean, White Asparagus, Coconut, Lumpfish Roe & Ramsons 

Duck - Crispy Duck, Eggplant, Pickled Tulip Bulb, Gravy of Pomegranate & Black Olive
Served with a cup of Duck Bouillon

Red Cabbage - Red Cabbage Ice Cream, Kencur, Lychee, Strained Yogurt, Pistou Chocolate

Lime Leaf - Goat Cheese, Beetroot, Tamarillo & Almond

No need to scroll back up, you are indeed seeing this twice...or are you?
Setting the scene: It's the little details that make the big difference when it comes to Michelin star restaurants. This commences the chocolate course. A selection of dishes from the dinner menu are replicated in the form of chocolates with a similar sweet taste as the savory dish. To navigate the chocolate menu, parchment paper with a printed color key is placed above the dinner menu to identify which color corresponds to the matching dish. I thought this was innovative and brilliantly fun. Definitely a first. Above is the equivalent to the Grapefruit course.

Chocolate Menu

Each color matches with a dish on the chocolate menu.
On the right they replicated the "Black Pudding" course to look exactly the same, but made of chocolate.

Shiitake course matching chocolate

Spectrum's motto is to make every guest feel at home & provide an unforgettable experience, and that they did. Sommelier Cas Kratz was involved and attentive throughout the meal, and even after every mignardise and petit fours was served, Sascha was still checking in. On the way out he proudly displayed the hotel's other ground floor venues including the Vault bar inside the original steel vault, still showcasing safety deposit boxes from 1950. All the way to the hotel's entrance, where Andres had greeted me, Sascha & I chatted about all things dining including both of our recent dinners at Den and what not to miss in Vienna. True to their objective, I walked in as a guest and left feeling like a friend. For more information please visit www.RestaurantSpectrum.com.

I'd like to dedicate this post to a friend and avid reader who's going through health issues.
Strength & positive thoughts. Thank you for always encouraging me and showing support.

For everything else Amsterdam Michelin dining have a look at my previous post on some local favorites here.


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